Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
HARRY H. MITCHELL. We should indeed be proud of the fact that there is no limit in this country to which natural ability, industry and honesty many not aspire, whether born here or in some foreign clime--the opportunities are open to all, the individual being largely responsible for his success or failure in this land of free thinking and comparatively free action. One born in the most unpromising surroundings and reared in the most adverse environment may nevertheless break from his fetters and rise to the highest station in the land, and the qualities do not have to be of transcendent character to enable him to accomplish this result. It is more the way he does it and his skill in grasping opportunities possessed by him. The late Harry H. Mitchell, well-known publisher and politician of Missouri, who stood high as a man of affairs and public-spirited citizen, although born under another flag, was an excellent example of how one with ambition, determination and force of character may rise from humble surroundings to a position of influence in his community.
Mr. Mitchell was born in Horsforth, England, August 7, 1850, and was the eldest son of George and Mary (Armitage) Mitchell, also natives of England, where they grew up and were married and established their home, but eventually came to the United States, in 1855. George Mitchell was educated both in the ministry and as a physician at Edinburgh', Scotland, and became a man of ability and learning, and his chief life work was as a preacher. When the subject of this memoir was five years old the family immigrated to America, first locating in New Jersey, later came to St. Louis, Missouri, where the father was for some time pastor of the Fourth Baptist church. From there he went to Lebanon and was pastor of the church in that city when the Civil war broke out. He sympathized with the Union, and was president of the first Union league formed in Missouri. He continued his pastorate work in this country, becoming popular in his denomination and built up the various churches to which he was called. His death occurred in Bolivar, Missouri, May 27, 1879, and his wife passed away at Hiawatha, Kansas, September 26, 1911. Their family consisted of eight children.
Harry H. Mitchell had little chance to receive an education, but he attended school a short time in St. Louis, also went to night school there. He was a type of the successful self-made man, having become a well-educated man through long years of home study and contact with the business world. Although but a mere boy he enlisted for service in the Union army during the latter part of the Civil war and served a few months under Capt. John Long, of Miller county, Missouri.
By nature a splendid penman, Mr. Miller began life for himself by teaching penmanship in several schools, but his principal life work has been in the field of journalism. He did his first newspaper work in Bolivar, Polk county, where he remained five or six years, and there he also worked in a merchandise store. From there he and his wife moved to Springfield in 1881, and here he found employment with Havens and Bentley, publishers of The Herald, remaining with them a few years, then took a position with the Sitsby Hardware Company, for which he traveled for thirteen years throughout Missouri, then traveled for some time for the W. F. O. Bair grocery house of St. Louis, having given both firms most satisfactory service as a traveling salesman, doing much to increase the prestige of each over the territory assigned him. In 1892 he went to Henry county, this state, and purchased The Henry County Republican at Clinton. After conducting it successfully for a time he returned to Springfield and purchased a share of The Springfield Republican, which has for many years been one of the leading dailies of southern. Missouri, mention of which is made on other pages of this work. Later he became owner of The Central Missouri Republican, at Boonville, which paper is now the property of his widow. He was very successful as a newspaper man and did much to build up the various newspapers with which he was connected, being a man of keen foresight, sound judgment and indefatigable energy; he had the tact of knowing what his subscribers wanted and tried to give them a good paper and his advertisers full value for their patronage.
Politically, Mr. Mitchell was a strong Republican and a great worker in the party, for many years was one of the influential men of his party in the southern part of the state and was not unknown throughout the state to Republican politicians, many of whom relied on his judgment and advice. He was secretary and treasurer of the Missouri State Editorial Association for life and held that responsible position with much success until his death. He also served for some time as a member of the Republican State Central Committee and did much for the success of the party in Missouri. He was a member of the Springfield Club, and fraternally belonged to the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mr. Mitchell was married in Buffalo, Missouri, March 5, 1876, to Tabitha E. Morrow, who was born June 7, 1856, in that city, and is a daughter of William L. and Sarah L. (Brown) Morrow, the father a native of Tennessee and the mother of Georgia. Mr. Morrow was a pioneer in southwest Missouri, having come to Greene county when only two or three houses had been built where the city of Springfield now stands. He went, on to Buffalo, Dallas county, and entered land from the government, which he improved and on which he established the future home of the family and there reared his children. He also en aged in the mercantile business here in connection with farming and became one of the leading citizens of the county. Politically he was a Republican. During the Civil war he was a member of the State Militia but was not called into actual service. His family consisted of seven children, six of whom are still living. Mrs. Mitchell grew to womanhood in Dallas county and there received a common school education. She is a member of Grace Methodist Episcopal church, also belongs to Grace Reading Circle. She owns a beautiful and neatly furnished home at 1307 Benton avenue.
To Harry H. Mitchell and wife six children were born, named as follows: Maude, born November 8, 1877, married Charles Wilder, editor of The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in which city they live. They have two children, namely, Charles Townsend, Jr., born February 15, 1907, and Mitchell, born August 19, 1913; George A., born December 22, 1879, is unmarried and at this writing lives in Alaska; Helen E., born April 15, 1882, married Carl Crone, a wholesale groceryman of Clinton, Missouri, in which city they live; they have one child, Helen Elizabeth, born April i2, 1912; Harriet, born November 12, 1884, is the wife of O. C. Kisley, and they live in St. Louis; Harry H., born April 15, 1891, lives in Boonville, Missouri, where he runs the newspaper left by his father; Edith Marie, born January 8, 1895, lives at home. These children were all given excellent educational advantages and are well situated in life.
The death of Harry N. Mitchell occurred July 24, 1913, when nearly sixty-three years of age. He was a man of fine mind and exemplary character, widely known throughout the state and highly respected by all.
Springfield-Greene County Library